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Cashless Payment: Exclusive Test: What Gold Credit Cards Also Offer | message


by Felix Petruschke, Euro on Sunday

Would you like something more? Gold credit cards are aimed at customers who do not want to be satisfied with a simple standard card, but want more. It usually looks like this: The customer pays higher fees, but is also offered various additional services. The gold card is therefore no longer just a means of payment, but can also be used by the majority of providers as travel insurance or international health insurance.

But is it worth it at all? Or do the banks get back the additional services through higher fees and high costs when withdrawing money? The offers of the individual providers differ greatly. This is shown by the large-scale test that the German Customer Institute (DKI) carried out for uro on Sunday. Standard credit cards (past edition), gold cards (present edition) and premium cards (upcoming edition) are examined.

All credit cards are characterized by the fact that the turnover of a billing period – usually one month – is collected and usually debited from a reference account by direct debit. The bank grants an interest-free loan until the next settlement date. This has a limit that may only be exceeded in exceptional cases. The limit is based on the customer’s credit rating.

That can be gold cards

In contrast to the standard cards, which are cheaper on average, gold cards offer more additional services. These extras vary from provider to provider: for example, 18 of the 20 cards tested contain international health insurance. 13 of the gold cards offer an emergency cash service abroad, ten a travel cashback system and six providers offer various additional discount services. The golden plastic cards also have what it takes to be a credit and insurance card.

In addition, eleven of the gold cards tested have a partial payment function (see table below): This means that the sales collected in a billing period can be repaid in installments and further sales can be validated until the limit is reached. With four credit cards with installments, installment breaks between 24 (Targobank) and 59 days (Barclays Bank) are possible. However, the interest rates of almost all providers are above the average overdraft interest.

The criteria of the test are at the bottom (see “How it was tested”). The tables for the individual categories “Conditions”, “Offer” and “Customer Service” are on this page. We also listed in the category “price-performance ratio”, which was not specifically included in the overall result.

Winner Sparkasse KlnBonn

The gold card was won by Sparkasse KlnBonn’s Mastercard Gold. This is followed by the HVB Mastercard Gold from Hypovereinsbank and last year’s winner Visa Card Gold from Consorsbank. At the end of the table you will find the Visa Gold Card again Santander bank (see table “Overall Rating”).

The test winner convinced with a very good offer (first place), good conditions (17th place) and a very good customer service (second place). Among other things, the auditors rated the annual fee for the mandatory reference checking account as positive from € 1,250 minimum monthly receipt from € 60 to € 12. With 72 euros for the Mastercard Gold even from the second year onwards, the Rheinlanders are below average when considering the annual fee. The services of the Sparkasse KlnBonn card include contactless payment and the Apple Pay payment function.

Other advantages of the Mastercard Gold: Cash withdrawals are free of charge outside of Germany, there is an emergency cash service for foreign countries and a comparatively low fee of 1.5 percent of the amount applies to payments in foreign currency.

In addition, the Sparkasse KlnBonn gold card includes an extensive insurance package: cardholders are covered by international health, travel cancellation and travel interruption insurance. In terms of customer service, the test winner scored with the fastest response to e-mails on average and quick accessibility by phone (fifth place).

Loser Santander Bank

Last year loser Santander is again at the bottom of the table this year. Especially in the categories “offer” (grade: insufficient) and “customer service” (last place) the Santander Bank scored important points. In the “Conditions” category, on the other hand, the Visa Card Gold scores well with the grade. On the other hand, it was rated negatively that the card costs 90 euros per year and is therefore significantly above the average. Depending on the turnover, however, this fee will be partially or fully reimbursed. It is not necessary to open an account to receive the Santander Gold Card, and the card has neither a minimum term nor a notice period. There is still some catching up to do in the area of ​​”customer service”: the examiners rated the hotline employees as the least helpful and least competent.

The main shortcoming from the auditor’s point of view was the range of insurance included: the insurance package includes foreign health, purchase protection and foreign travel liability insurance, but the majority of these insurance policies only apply in a few cases. For this reason, the Santander Bank also takes last place in the “price-performance ratio” category.

The GoldCard of the Hanseatic Bank deserves a special mention. Hamburg came first in the “price-performance ratio” category. That was the best insurance package of all providers: The cardholders of Hanseatic Bank are covered by travel health insurance, travel cancellation insurance, trip cancellation insurance and luggage insurance as well as flight and luggage insurance and mobile phone protection insurance. For comparison: The Targobank is the only additional insurance that only offers purchase protection. But be careful: the insurance protection of the GoldCard is the only one of all tested providers not within Germany, but only abroad.

It’s worth comparing

As much as the cards differ in the extras, they also differ in the conditions of the maximum availability. For all providers, this is dependent on the customer’s credit rating. While there is no general upper limit for nine cards, the availability limit for the other cards is limited even if the credit rating is excellent. The card of ICS (8,000 euros) has the lowest availability, the largest cards of Hypovereinsbank and Sparkasse KlnBonn (100,000 euros).
“Before customers choose a gold card, they should ask themselves what additional services they actually need,” says DKI boss Jrn Hsgen. For example, travel cancellation insurance can quickly pay off on vacation, while double health insurance abroad is probably less.

The third part of our series is about premium cards. They offer even more extras than gold cards and are aimed primarily at VIPs – or those who would like to be.

How it was tested:

In this second part of the comprehensive test, 20 gold credit cards were examined on the basis of around 250 individual criteria according to the categories “conditions”, “offer” and “customer service” – by questioning the providers, hidden contacts and analyzing the website. The “Conditions” (weight: 35 percent) included, among other things: annual fees, fees for cash withdrawals and payment procedures, requirements for receiving the card. For example, the “offer” (weight: 35 percent) included: maximum financial availability, included insurance and bonus benefits. “Customer service” (weight: 30 percent) was about responding to emails and the website. The criterion “price-performance ratio” was also formed from “conditions” and “offer”. Results above 100 points result from the award of bonus points.


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